Howard hawkish on subsidiarity, softens line on carbon tax

Environment Secretary Michael Howard disclosed for the first time during a hearing before the House of Commons Environment Committee on 28 October that he favours the repeal of the controversial EC Directive on drinking water. His comment will have alarmed environmentalists who remain concerned that the UK may use the EC debate on subsidiarity to seek the repeal of Community environmental laws. The hearing also revealed that the Government's stance on the proposed EC carbon tax may be softening.

Mr Howard's comments came during a one-session inquiry by the Committee into the Government's second progress report (see pp 20-21 ) on the 1990 White Paper on the environment.

Asked to comment how the subsidiarity principle may affect EC environment laws, Mr Howard advanced only one criterion which he felt w

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